COUNTRY CHURCHES INSPIRE a certain reverence of holiness not found in modern churches. In the wood, in the workmanship, in the setting, these houses of worship reflect the history of past generations.
Such is historic Valley Grove Church, once known as Tyske Grove, a Norwegian immigrant parish established northwest of Nerstrand. In 1862, the first stone church was built, then replaced in 1894 by a white clapboard building.
By that time, the congregation had already been renamed Valley Grove, a change made in 1870.
In the nearly four decades since the congregation dissolved, efforts have continued to preserve the two Valley Grove churches.
Walk inside the 1894 building and you’ll step back in time, to simpler days, when families gathered here to worship God, to socialize and to draw strength from each other in their new homeland.
The song Praise and Thanksgiving written by Albert F. Bayly seems appropriately fitting for country churches like those at Valley Grove:
“Praise and thanksgiving, Father we offer, for all things living, created good: Harvest of sown fields, fruits of the orchard, hay from the mown fields, blossom and wood.
Bless, Lord, the labor we bring to serve you, that with our neighbor we may be fed. Sowing or tilling, we would work with you, harvesting, milling for daily bread.
Father, providing food for your children, by your wise guiding teach us to share one with another, so that, rejoicing with us, all others may know your care.”
For more information, go to www.valleygrovemn.com. Read my earlier blog about Valley Grove, posted Oct. 9.
Photos © Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling